Home Sweet Condo

The last month has been hectic - some of it outside of our control, some of it totally our fault - but the last week has been crazier still. Last minute errands and projects, packing, repacking, weighing bags, rearranging, trying to make sure that we didn't forget anything, and all while Peter continued to work his normal schedule so that he would have as much vacation time to use as possible for the next two months.

The plan was to have everything ready to go on Wednesday by the time he came home from work (he was hoping to leave work around noon), so that we could hit the road no later than 3 pm, putting us in Atlanta around 7:30, with room to spare for dinner and downtime. The reality was that he was home by 10:30, but we spent the next 7.5 hours running around like headless chickens, getting the house ready to leave for the next 6-8 weeks... AND have it presentable for the kids when we return! Beds had to be made (Peter discovered it was easier to take the mattresses off of the bunks to make the beds and then shove them back in!), bathrooms cleaned and winterized, fridge cleaned out, and on and on.

As we were finally pulling out of the driveway around 6 PM, poor Peter looked over from the drivers seat as a sob escaped and the tears start to flow from yours truly. As we drove away from our house, the one thing going through my head was, "I don't want to do this." Even as I thought it, I knew that was just Satan's final dig, his last attempt to use the weakest link (me), to play to all of my fears and appeal to my selfishness. And so yes, I cried, but I also - once again (and not for the last time, I'm quite sure) - said "Yes" to God's plan. Yes to obedience. Yes to discomfort. Yes to hard work and sleepless nights. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.

On our way to Atlanta that night, we avoided an idiot in a van who almost clipped our front and the rear of a semi as he squeezed through between us. Peter - who is not prone to exaggeration - even said, "Huh, I'm not sure I've even seen one quite that close. That was within inches." Meanwhile, I was having a heart attack in the right seat, and thanking God for His protection. A little while later, we passed a semi that was STOPPED in the right hand lane (not off on the shoulder, but out in the road), and I thanked God again for His care.

By the time we made it to our airport motel, it was 10:30, and dinner consisted of a bagel for Peter and a couple of cups of hot tea in the room before we set our alarm. Not exactly the relaxing and restful evening we were hoping for, but we were grateful to be there and one step closer to our kids. After tossing and turning all night, we scarfed down the Greek yogurt we'd brought with us from home (see: fridge clean out), and then hit the road again to park our car and catch a ride to the airport. By the time we were at the gate (Pumpkin Spice Mocha in hand for me, Costa Rican coffee for Peter), we were just ready to be in Costa Rica, settling into the condo and finding our way around.

After boarding the plane, we were all settled and ready to push back from the gate when the voice of the captain announced that due to the eruption of more ash from the Turrialba volcano (about 30 miles from the San Jose airport), the airport had been closed and the Delta flight from California that was headed that way had been rerouted, so we were staying on the ground in Atlanta for at least 1 hour while we waited to see if it would reopen. Let the prayers commence. Those who wanted to disembark could do so, those who wished to remain (like us) could stay. After waiting out the hour, around 11:00 the decision was made to take off as the airport had been cleared of the ash, and the winds had switched direction... and with that, we were on our way.

The flight was a little bumpy, but basically uneventful. I shocked our seatmate (an elderly man who moved to Costa Rica with his wife a year ago, and was going back down to close things up and move back to the U.S.) when he asked why we were going to Costa Rica. Apparently adopting five children at once just isn't normal. Welcome to our out-of-the-box life history. Upon landing in Costa Rica, we made it through immigration (90-day visas obtained), and customs, were claimed by our car rental agency and then whisked out of the airport to pick up our vehicle for the next 47 days.

By the time we reached the car rental HQ's, I was sure of two things: Peter was going to win everyone over with his ability to speak Spanish (with a good accent) as he kept being complemented on it by the Ticos, and he would also be the sole driver of the vehicle in this crazy traffic. Our condo is technically around a 10 minute drive from the airport... but it took us over an hour to get here. On second thought, perhaps the van-driving idiot on our way to Atlanta was just a test run for me to get used to the insanity that is San Jose traffic. Peter and I came to a quick agreement... he watches the road and our fellow drivers (it's a good thing this kind of driving is right up his alley!), and I watch the GPS and tell him when and where to turn. He says if I do well at navigating, I can be his navigator when we do Baja off-road racing after the kids are grown. {wink, wink}

By the time we made it to the condo complex (where there is conveniently a small shopping center with a grocery, a couple of restaurants, a pharmacy, a phone repair store, and an ATM), we were both feeling the effects of our go-go-go from the last week, and were ready to crash. After checking in and picking up groceries and a pizza (excellent, by the way), we brought everything into the condo and literally crashed on a large sofa/bed in the bonus room (later to be used as a third bedroom). Home Sweet Condo.

P.S. Today and tomorrow we'll venture out again, finish unpacking, and see what our little area has to offer. I'm grateful for all of our years overseas, as (so far) nothing has been a shock to the system (other than the fact that they claim you can drink the water from the tap - that's a new one for us!). On Sunday we will meet with our lawyer and her assistant, and on Monday we are scheduled to meet the kids for the first time. It hasn't really sunk in yet, but I'm sure it will soon.

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